How I’m Preparing for Kansas City

1. Reading Bloomability by Sharon Creech.

Bloomability

Written at a sixth grade reading level, it’s one of my favorite books. 13-year-old Dinnie is packed up and sent to a boarding school in Switzerland, where…. you should read the book.

2. Eating raspberries.

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Sex and the Splitting Church: What Just Happened?

Talking to several people about Mennonite church Executive Board meeting Jan. 29-31, the conversation went like this: Wait, what happened? This week, Alabama became the 37th state to allow gay marriage–meanwhile, the Executive Board recommended maintaining the definition of traditional marriage through 2017. Wait, what happened?

I’m not on EB, but I am in the business of offering biased interpretations of church politics. And, this [expletive] backwards decision is actually a move forward. I’m an optimist. But stick with me. Here’s a few ways to look at what happened:

1. EB went back to the drawing board.
For the last 8 months or so, EB has been talking about a “structural solution” to our GLBTQ debates. Most of the objections to inclusion have been voices coming to be and saying, “He hit me; put him in time out.” EB has responded by saying, “I’m not your mom.” EB spent several months working toward a Not Your Mom Resolution–a resolution that would codify more clearly the power structure of MC USA and try to appease the conservative churches by maintaining a doctrinal stance that they could agree with, but allowing liberal churches to do their gay marriage thing, more or less without repercussion. Both liberals and conservatives called this bullshit, and at this meeting, EB admitted that a “structural solution” was, in fact, bullshit. Continue reading

Clergy Sexuality Survey: The TL;DR Edition

Are you too lazy to read the survey on GLBTQ issues that just came out? Do you want a totally biased, subjective, moderately educated perspective on the 2014 Survey of Credentialed Leaders in Mennonite Church USA? So I present to you: Clergy Sexuality Survey: TL;DR (more to follow, if I feel like it).

Totally Biased Summary, Part 1: The People

Remember what I said in the last post about some of the respondent bias? Essentially, in the Mennonite Church, credentialed clergy (those who are pastors, retired pastors, or working in church leadership like chaplaincy or specific missions) are disproportionately male and three-quarters of them are 45+. There’s no statistics on race for the survey, but (spoiler alert) they’re mostly white.

Women in MC USA

MC USA clergy are 6% more female than the 2015 Congress. Make your own metaphor about the church being 6% more effective than Congress.

Totally Biased Summary, Part 2: Their Issues

There are at least some intelligent people reporting on the survey results on the internet. There are also lots of people just venting. Here are some of the highlights they’re arguing about: Continue reading